The Steelers finding a degree of stability on offense — and a sliver of a playoff hope — has a lot to do with the emergence of rookie running back Le’Veon Bell.
But while there are other rookie backs putting up bigger numbers, there’s not one the Steelers would rather have.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday about the decision to take Bell 48th overall, considering the success enjoyed by Eddie Lacy with the Packers this year after they took him later in the second round (61st).
According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Tomlin said the choice between the backs was “an easy one,” citing Bell’s versatility.
Lacy’s seventh in the league in rushing with 1,028 yards on 248 carries, and has helped provide the kind of ballast the Packers were hoping for, especially with Aaron Rodgers out with a broken collarbone.
Bell’s carried 196 times for 646 yards, but has been a more consistent threat out of the backfield in the passing game, with 43 catches for 388 yards.
He’s also picked it up lately, with 421 combined yards from scrimmage the last four games.
With Ben Roethlisberger breaking franchise records for pass attempts and completions, the kind of ability to make something happen through the air is a necessity for a back, and Bell relishes that chance.
“It’s really your only opportunity as a runner to try to get the ball in some open space and make guys miss you,” Bell said. “I love doing that, catching the ball out of the backfield and making guys miss. . .
“I love the way they get me the ball — out of the backfield, running the ball. I get the opportunity to make plays.”
He’s made plenty lately, and made the Steelers glad they made the choice they made.